Here is a quick example sketch: Fat Cute Monster Statue This is supposed to be a big, strong, evil, imposing demon-sculpture, but to me it just looks a bit too cute and cuddly. What should I be doing to make it look more scary?

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    Not exactly my definition of cute and cuddly!
    – Yisela
    Jul 12, 2013 at 3:26
  • @Yisela: thanks for the vote of confidence, but I did say too cute and cuddly :). I was going for the spawn of evil, go mad with fear kind of scary, not the big, angry dude who looks like he could knock you out kind...
    – naught101
    Jul 12, 2013 at 3:34
  • 4
    Look up a general description of what humans consider cute and try to avoid it. Your character has large eyes, a relatively large forehead, a large head compared to the rest of its body. These are characteristics of juvenile animals that we find "cute" Jul 12, 2013 at 6:43
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    Hey @BenJackson, that's some good advice. I just looked up "cuteness" on wikipedia. Quite informative. Maybe you should expand that into an answer so people can vote on it?
    – naught101
    Jul 12, 2013 at 7:16

3 Answers 3


I think you are on the right track already with your character. You just need more definition in order to relay the emotion or personality.

See the brown marks I added.

enter image description here

Simply adding facial definition & detail will help bring out the "evil" in the character. Note how the eyebrows protrude a bit more now. More wrinkles at the bridge of the nose makes him 'snarl'. Depth lines around the cheek bones define the face and give some age.

Also, add more detail in the body (i.e. muscle tone) to keep the character from looking "soft".

It's very helpful to have a small mirror handy when drawing so you can mimic facial expressions and positions to find key points draw.

  • 2
    Hey, thanks. The point about the brow ridges is quite inline with the wikipedia page on neoteny - and I think the face wrinkles also work the same way, making the face look older. I think maybe I need to make the head smaller relative to the body, and the teeth larger. I really like the redlining, hope to see more of that on this site!
    – naught101
    Jul 12, 2013 at 10:20

Consider reducing the size of the head. It is out of proportion to the body.

If you look at most cute and cuddly cartoon characters, their features are exaggerated to make them look more cute. Most cute characters have overly large heads and eyes…mimicking a baby's appearance.

In this case, your characters does not look cute, however the fact that your character's head is so large may be aligning with big-headed cartoon characters (and babies).

I suspect if you reduce the size of the head a bit, say 80%, you'll get a more fierce looking character.

See here for head sizes and proportions: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_proportions

You want to be more towards the adult side of the scale and less towards to baby side.

I also think your character's arms could be a bit longer, they too are a bit out of proportion. One of my favorite drawing books is a book on human anatomy - maybe check out some good anatomy books online/at the library, it will help. Or just Google drawing the human body, etc.

For example (simple scaling reduction of the upper head, and then further reduction of the eyes in GIMP): Scaled head

  • +1 good answer, many styles of art deliberately put head size out of proportion to get an extreme position on the cute-fearce scale. Eye size is another - large eyes relative to the head size increase cuteness. Fantasy art characters often have tiny (but extremely detailed, prominently placed) heads, and many styles use oversized heads for cuteness, particularly in Japan Jul 12, 2013 at 11:45
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    Hey Chsweb, I tried it, and it's a definite improvement. I added the image, without other modifications, to your answer, since I can't post it in the comments. Hope that's ok.
    – naught101
    Jul 14, 2013 at 8:28

You have to revise the proportions.

Google for the proportions comparison of a grown-up and child - the most pronounced difference is the size of the head. Reduce it - after all brute characters are rarely smart ;-)

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